Get off the Bench

I started exercising this week with my husband. Like, weight training, interval exercising. I could hardly walk after the first day. But several really fantastic things happened during that first workout, and it’s worth documenting.

We began the exercises on our driveway behind our home, outside in the hot morning sun. Jordan brought out a bunch of free weights and yoga blocks and we got to work. The first amazing thing that happened was our son Link’s excitement when he realized that I was also going to be exercising too, not just his dad this time. Jordan’s a beast, and has been devoted to his workout routine for several years now. I never join him. Sure, I like to go on walks and my diet is fairly disciplined, but this was something new and our son was delighted. When Jordan was demonstrating proper technique for walking lunges with weights, Link picked up the small set of weights and started doing them with us. Sometimes, we forget how much our tinies are watching the example we’re setting for them. Twice during that first workout, Link turned to me and said, “Mama, I’m so proud of you for exercising.” My heart.

The most astonishing thing that happened during that morning was that right in the middle of a weighted arm circuit, I became unexpectedly and uncontrollably emotional, set down my weights, ran into the house, fell to my knees, and sobbed. Like, ugly sob. I gave myself 30 seconds to let the purge work its way through me, and then I got up, wiped my tears, went back outside, finished those reps, and kept going. It’s hard to know exactly what caused the onslaught of emotion, but what it felt like was as if my body and all my cells were collectively saying to me “Oh, you decided to show up today. About effing time.” The night before that first workout, Jordan and I were talking some real talk after the child was down for bed and I spontaneously deleted all the time-suck games I had on my phone and told him I would join him in his morning exercises. The thing with me is, I start to notice when I’m spending too much time on the bench in life; and, eventually, I just get irritated with myself and demand more. I must have been building up to that decision because this week, I decided to stand up.

The final and equally fantastic thing that happened after that workout is how much my husband and my relationship has deepened in love and respect just in these past few days. There’s a camaraderie here that I didn’t know we could have, on top of what we’ve already built. I have so much more respect for him and the workouts he does, seeing how I do like 1/3 of what he does and am wreaked from it. He, much like my cells, is thrilled that I’m showing up, wanting more from myself, wanting more for our family, and wanting more out of life. The bliss is amazing and makes pushing myself all the easier to overcome.

I’m writing all of this, hopefully to inspire you to stand up as well, but also as a reminder to myself when that bench looks inviting to me again. If I know myself and my tendencies, I can anticipate them and defend myself from them. I can demand more.

Always, Brittney